Jane Gannon

Design Engineer (Structural), Arup Consulting Engineering

Job Design Engineer (Structural)
Employer Arup Consulting Engineering, Dublin
Education Bachelor of Civil Engineering, University College Dublin (2007)

In the final year of my degree I studied hydraulics design and structure design. I knew I wanted to work in structural engineering, so after applying to Arup Consulting I was delighted to secure my job with them before my finals.

As a design engineer I work closely with more senior engineers on detailed structural design. I might be working on a large-scale commercial office development, a hospital or a shopping centre. If I have a query from a design team member, such as an adjustment to a structural design, I normally deal with it by issuing a sketch, or visiting a site to check up on a problem.

I’ve now worked on several refurbishment projects in Dublin. In the early stages of a project I consult with other design team members, attend meetings, swap information and put together sketches, designs and drawings. Once a project goes to construction, I work closely with the site contractors.

At the design concept stage, I'll survey the existing building and take some photos. Then my team releases initial sketches and designs, which involve lots of interpretation and conjecture. Usually our assumptions are correct, but occasionally they might not correspond to what's actually there. You never know before you demolish shop fits or building finishes what you’re going to find, especially in older buildings.

Although you don't have to be good at drawing in this job, you do have to be able to visualise things in 3D. I issue sketches on a daily basis, but for a large project all my designs are computer-based. Every day I use design software and autocad alongside the basic Office suite.

I love the fact that my job is so varied – I honestly don’t think I’ve ever had a set routine! It's a very social, interactive job, and it's rare that two or three days will pass where I haven't been out of the office on site visits. Contrary to the stereotypical view of this industry, I don’t feel that it's a particularly male-dominated environment – I'm one of several female engineers working here.

Seeing finished structures that I've helped to design is fantastic. No matter how many projects I've been involved in I'm always excited to see the end result, knowing that I've played an integral part in a building's design.